Many visitors to WellPreserved start by looking for how to make jam. Clicking on the Preserving tab will lead you to some quick articles on this topic as well as further articles in this case study.
Jam Day and this step is prep time!
Per step 1, you should have bought your ingredients today. Time to get ready to make your jam. As mentioned previously, I am going to detail the raspberry jalapeno jam in this case (including eating suggestions of course!). For this particular jam, you will need 4 cups of raspberries, 3 cups of sugar, a bunch of jalapenos (quarter to half cup) and a 1/4 cup of bottled lemon juice (actual lemons are a bad substitution).
Many people are shocked at the amount of sugar within jam – when you consider that the fruit itself adds even more, it’s an even greater amount. Jam is fruit based – but not fruit. It’s sweeter than fruit because of the sugar.
I have mentioned that I don’t use Certo in my fruit jams. To recap, it is bitter as all getout and it is not needed at all. Certo’s Liquid pectin calls for 8 cups of sugar for the same amount of berries in it’s no-cook jam and 6.5 cups for slightly less jam. We’ll examine why Certo is not needed in the next article – if you can afford a $20 candy thermometer and spend 19 minutes more, then certo provides zero benefit and twice the sugar. Health, cost, purity of product are all affected. (Certo does have a purpose in non-fruitbased jams and jellies…)
You can do all of this in any order you like – I actually have a process that I follow in a loose order as I have a lot of fun finding efficient ways to do things – more of a hobby than an obsession. Honestly.
Clean the fruit, dry it well.
I take a large-based pot (in my case, frying pan) and place the berries in. Lightly crush them with a potato masher. Mix in the sugar and stir well. Let this mixture rest for one hour – you have enough time to do the rest of the prep.
Place a few inches of water in the pressure cooker . You will need to bring this to a rolling boil when you are ready to seal. An ideal setup (and most pressure cookers) will have a bottom rack that will keep the jars off the bottom of the pot which prevents intense and direct heat from breaking them.
A second pot is needed with enough water to submerge your jars in. Bring the water to a boil and boil the jars (no lids) for 10 minutes or more to sterilize. As the water is coming to a boil, clean the jars with soap and water (even if they are brand new jars) and place in the boiling water. Your final product will eventually need to cool on oven racks. I ready my kitchen – in my case I place the racks on a large cutting board.
Clean your seals, rings and other equipment (such as the jar tongs, food funnel and lid magnet all described in step 0). Place a small pot with water on a burner (this one will be used to boil the seals and rings for 60 seconds).
Throw the jalapenos in the food processor. I used a 1/4 cup (after processing) of cleaned peppers the first time (I have found that a small teaspoon is a great tool to clean a jalapeno of it`s ribs and seeds). The second time I used two more tablespoons and included the ribs and seeds. The first product provided a nice heat with no pepper texture – it was identical to regular raspberry jam. The second provided a subtle texture that added a bit of fun.
I love spicy food. This combination is not overly spicy. Even friends and family who are timid of spice have found this to be more sweet than hot. It has a bite but isn`t overwhelming.
All your prep is done – and you are ready to start the cooking…which will happen tomorrow.
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